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Senate Bill 919: Updates to California Franchise Broker Regulations

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In the franchise broker industry, staying ahead of legal changes is a strategic advantage.

Recently we came across an informative article from the Franchise Times shedding light on critical legislative developments in California that could significantly impact franchise brokers and third-party sellers.

Understanding these changes is essential for franchise brokers nationwide, as they underscore a trend towards greater transparency and accountability in the industry—so if you haven’t heard the news, we brought it right to your doorstep.

Summary of New Franchise Broker Regulations

According to the Franchise Times, there has been a significant development for franchise brokers and third-party sellers in California. A new legislative proposal, Senate Bill No. 919, aims to implement stricter disclosure requirements. 

Introduced by Senator Tom Umberg and currently under consideration by the Rules Committee, this bill mandates that franchise brokers, broker networks, and franchise sales organizations register with the state’s Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation and submit a detailed seller disclosure form. This regulation is set to take effect on July 1, 2025, and applies to any broker dealing with prospective franchisees in California or with franchise operations within the state.

Key components of the bill include a registration fee of $250 for third-party sellers and the introduction of a Uniform Third-Party Franchise Seller Disclosure Form. This form requires sellers to provide comprehensive information about their role in the franchise process, the services they offer, their compensation methods, litigation history, and details of the franchises sold in the past five years.

The International Franchise Association (IFA) has played a crucial role in shaping this bill, aiming to enhance the pre-sale transparency for prospective franchisees, allowing them to make more informed decisions. This move aligns with the Federal Trade Commission’s push for stricter oversight in franchising, reflecting a broader trend towards increased accountability in the sector.

Franchise industry experts like Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet, and attorney Brian Schnell have expressed strong support for the bill. They emphasize the need for such measures in what they describe as the “wild, wild West” of franchise selling, where insufficient regulation has sometimes led to misleading practices. The bill is designed to protect both franchisees and franchisors by ensuring that brokers provide complete and accurate information during the sales process.

The initiative also aligns with similar regulatory frameworks in states like New York and Washington and could pave the way for national changes in franchise brokerage regulations.

What Does This Mean?

The introduction of a uniform disclosure form and the requirement for third-party sellers to register and disclose their activities are steps towards greater transparency in franchising.

These changes highlight the importance of due diligence and ethical practices in the industry. For franchise brokers and industry stakeholders, this information will help maintain trust and integrity during operations.

The content for this article has been sourced from the Franchise Times.

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